The N and KN editions of Windows 8.1 include the same functionality as Windows 8.1, except for media-related technologies (Windows Media Player) and certain preinstalled media apps (Music, Video, Sound Recorder, Skype). You need other software from Microsoft or another company for this communication functionality and to play or create audio CDs, media files, and video DVDs; stream music; and take and store pictures.
Some websites and software – like Windows Store apps or Microsoft Office, use Windows Media-related files that aren’t incorporated in these editions of Windows. End-users can make these websites and software work properly by installing the Media Feature Pack for N and KN editions of Windows 8.1 (KB2835517).
The N and KN editions include the same functionality as Windows 8.1 editions, except for Windows Media Player and related technologies. The excluded technologies include, but aren't limited to:
Windows Media Player user experience. Enables Windows Media Player features such as the ability to play media files and audio CDs, manage media in a library, create a playlist, provide metadata (including album art) for media, create an audio CD, transfer music to a portable music player, and play streamed content from the web.
Windows Media Player ActiveX control. Exposes methods and properties for manipulating multimedia playback from a webpage or app.
Windows Media Format. Provides support for the Advanced Systems Format (ASF) file container, the Windows Media audio and video codecs, basic network streaming capability, and digital rights management (DRM).
Windows Media digital rights management. Enables the secure delivery of protected content for playback on a computer, portable device, or network device.
The N and KN editions include the same functionality as Windows 8.1 editions, except for Windows Media Player and related technologies. The excluded technologies include, but aren't limited to: Enables communication between an app, the Windows Media DRM system, and portable audio players.
Media sharing and Play To. Enables music, pictures, and videos on a networked computer to be shared with other computers and devices on the same network. Also enables computers to find those types of files on the network.
Media Foundation. Provides support for content protection, audio and video quality, and interoperability for digital rights management (DRM).
Windows 8.1 Portable Devices (WPD) infrastructure. Communicates with attached media and storage devices, including devices that support the Media Transfer Protocol.
MPEG, WMA, AAC, and Dolby Digital audio codecs. Enables playback of digital audio content such as MP3, WMA, MPEG-2 audio, AAC audio, and AC-3 audio.
VC-1, MPEG-4, and H.264 codecs. "Standards-based codec components," as they're collectively called, enable Windows 8.1 software experiences like Windows Media Player to support activities that include playback and creation of multimedia files encoded with standards-based codecs.
Music. A preinstalled app that facilitates the playing of digital music.
Video. A preinstalled app that facilitates the playing of digital video.
Sound Recorder. A preinstalled app for recording sounds.
SKYPE. A preinstalled app for messaging and communications.
Impact on other features
Some features aren't removed but are affected by the media technology removal in the N and KN editions. These include:
Camera-Over-The-Lock-Screen. This feature doesn’t work.
Geofencing. This feature doesn’t work.
App Sync. This feature doesn’t work.
OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) and Photos. Will be unable to play videos.
Xbox Games. Some functionality associated with this feature doesn’t work.
HomeGroup. Integrated media sharing via streaming features don't work.
Webcam. This feature doesn’t work.
Windows 8.1 Mobile devices. There's no support for media synchronization, image acquisition, or file browsing.
Windows 8.1 camera devices. Cameras that use the picture transfer protocol (PTP) don't work.
Sound Recorder. Recordings are limited to the WAV format.
Group Policy for removable disks. This feature doesn't work in the N and KN editions of Windows 8 Pro.
Sensor and Location Platform. This feature doesn't work.
How to obtain Microsoft support files from online services
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